Research & Projects

Educational Psychology

At the heart of Educational Psychology lies a commitment to understanding and improving the educational experiences of individuals at every stage of their learning journey. To this end, we are proud to introduce you to our current Educational Psychology research-sponsored activities, each playing a pivotal role in advancing our knowledge and contributing to the betterment of education.

Research Sponsored Activities

Project Lead: Katherine Cheng, Ph.D.

Our research lab examines emotion regulation, social, and motivational factors that predict student well-being, including their quality of life, acculturative stress, and physiological stress (via survey questionnaires and salivary biomarkers). Currently, we are interested in developing interventional programs to sustain pipelines toward higher ed completion, particularly for students from diverse backgrounds. In previous iterations of the lab, we have collected pilot data, and we have launched our first study housed at UA in Spring 2022!

Director: Adriana Cimetta, Ph.D.

Responsible for overseeing all CEARE projects, mentoring staff and graduate students, writing reports, preparing manuscripts for publication, well as seek out additional grant/funding opportunities to ensure sustainability.

Research Specialist III: Rebecca Friesen, Ph.D.

Responsible for managing the daily operations for all CREAR projects, training/supervising graduate students, obtaining IRB approval for projects, data management and analysis, assisting in writing reports, preparing manuscripts for publication, and supporting efforts to obtain additional grant/funding opportunities.

The key goals for CEARE are: 

  • Build stakeholder awareness of the processes involved in incorporating educational evaluation into a project/program or grant/contract effort. 
  • Provide stakeholder consultation for best practices in educational evaluation. 
  • Evaluate programs and interventions intended to have effects on learning, motivation, and teaching diverse populations. 
  • Promote and support the design of educational assessments capable of providing insights about what and how students learn and how teachers teach. 
  • Facilitate the equity-centered mission of the COE by conducting educational research and technical evaluation assistance documenting the effectiveness and improvement of teaching, learning, and motivation – particularly for historically marginalized populations. 
  • Develop the capacity of future educational evaluators. 

Project Lead: Jonathan Tullis, Ph.D.

The CAMEL (Cognition And Memory in Education & Learning) Lab investigates how learning environments can prompt learners to capitalize on the innate strengths of memory, minimize the impact of the intrinsic weaknesses of memory, and decrease the efforts learners expend. Using basic research, math models, and applied research, we hope to further our understanding of fundamental cognitive processes so that we can more effectively structure learning environments to match the characteristics and quirks of cognition.

Current grant funding is used to examine how studying related information changes memory, generalization, and problem-solving. 

Project Lead: Ji Hong, Ph.D.

QTEACH aims at investigating teachers’ cognitive, emotional, and motivational competencies embedded in various classroom, school, community, social and historical contexts, and collaborating with teachers to build and sustain their professional capacities across their career trajectories.

Project Lead: Nicole Kersting, Ph.D.

Effective classroom communication requires that teachers can effectively apply their knowledge and skills in real time. In this 4-year project, we study a theoretical model for improving classroom communication in the context of sharing student work. The model explicitly moves away from viewing teachers as executors of practiced approaches towards a framework in which teachers are thinkers and effective decision-makers. We support the cultivation of teacher thinking in terms of usable knowledge, conceptualized as fostering an internal model of classroom communication allowing for fast and effective decision-making. To improve usable knowledge, the thinking teacher explores, trying new approaches and techniques to find what works in different situations, and reflects on the outcome of this exploration to build awareness of their own internal model. This learning cycle of exploration, reflection, and awareness builds usable knowledge to improve decision-making in the next class. It forms the core of a 3-year intervention study (Year 1 baseline, Years 2 and 3 intervention) of 150 elementary school teachers (100 intervention and 50 control teachers).